About Us

Since 2017, Rocky Coast Research has helped clients balance business interests with responsibility and user trust


Rocky Coast Research was founded in 2017 to provide advice on the emerging field of fairness, accountability, transparency, and ethics in computer systems. We believe firmly that it is possible to build trustworthiness into systems without compromising business goals by using best-of-breed technologies and accompanying business practices. You can read more about our philosophy.

We offer world-class support for anyone who wants to understand the latest and greatest in data-oriented technologies such as machine learning, data science, and artificial intelligence. Specifically, we identify where these technologies create problems with compliance or user trust and propose mitigations.

Our Security and Privacy practice provides similar guidance around the latest technology in security and privacy. We believe it is necessary to have a robust security and privacy program in place as part of a larger data governance and responsible technology program. This practice integrates security and privacy into data governance practices in order to build robust compliance programs.

What we do

At Rocky Coast Research, our growing team of leading researchers and practitioners in computer science, data analysis, law, public policy, and social science can help your business avoid the compliance pitfalls and reputational missteps associated with unintentional bias and discrimination. Specifically, it has become important in many contexts to satisfy abstract, amorphous requirements such as fairness, accountability, transparency, and ethics. This stands in contrast to traditional product design and requirements gathering, which relies on requirements being concrete and easily implementable. At Rocky Coast Research, we believe you don't need to define fairness to prevent unfairness and that cutting-edge technical solutions for building computer systems in a responsible way are ready to be deployed in the real world.

The Team

Joshua A. Kroll, PhD

Joshua A. Kroll, PhD. Rocky Coast Research was founded by Dr. Joshua A. Kroll in 2017 to address the growing interest in building technologies that are responsive to their normative social, political, and legal contexts. Together with a network of leading experts in this emerging field and in security, privacy, and technology policy, Joshua is ready to address your these needs, big and small.

Joshua A. Kroll is a computer scientist and a leading expert recognized internationally for his work on responsibility and accountability in computer systems, especially in automated decision-making systems and systems that use data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. His paper "Accountable Algorithms", published in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review (Vol. 165, 2016-17), gives a definitive overview of problems in fairness, accountability, and transparency in automated decision-making systems and the corresponding state-of-the-art solutions. The article received the Future of Privacy Forum's Privacy Papers for Policymakers Award in 2017. Joshua’s recent IEEE Security & Privacy article, “Data Science Data Governance,” provides a field manual to assist organizations in the creation of governance programs to manage compliance risks of data-oriented technologies—with specific reference to GDPR. Joshua continues to study how technology can satisfy normative goals such as fairness, accountability, transparency, and ethics. He develops new technologies to support these goals, as well as new methodologies and best practices for technology governance.

Joshua has helped to develop and lead the field of fairness, accountability, and transparency in computer systems. He spoke at the inaugural Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency in Machine Learning workshop (FAT/ML) in 2014. Since then, he has been a part of the organizing committee for FAT/ML, having served as chair of the program committee in 2017; he also acted as one of the organizers of the related Conference on Fairness, Accountability, and Transparency (FAT*) in 2018. He continues to be an active researcher on the way technology fits within a human-driven, normative context and satisfies goals driven by ideals such as fairness, accountability, transparency, and ethics as a postdoctoral research scholar at the UC Berkeley School of Information. Joshua's previous research work spans accountable algorithms, cryptography, software security, formal methods, Bitcoin, and several aspects of technology policy.

Joshua holds a Bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics from Harvard College as well as a Master's degree and a Doctorate in computer science from Princeton University. Prior to founding Rocky Coast Research, he spent two years working on cryptography and internet security at the web performance and security company Cloudflare. Additionally, he has previous experiences developing software and working on public policy at Google, was a researcher at SRI International, and consulted on intellectual property litigation with the firm Elysium Digital.

Joshua lives in Marin County, CA. You can find out more about Joshua at his website, including a list of his publications and speaking engagements.

Count Rugen

Count Rugen Count Rugen is the once and future mascot of Rocky Coast Research. A polydactyl ginger tabby (our own "six-fingered man") from Bristol, PA, Roo (as he's known to his friends) loves sunbeams, Cheerios, and boxing slow, puny humans. Playful and friendly, Roo is always up for a challenge and a new adventure. Although he disappeared at the still-tender age of 5, he remains forever our spirit animal for his indominable cleverness, his coy curiosity, and his willingness to hold his ground against the bign dogs. At Rocky Coast Research, we strive to uphold his spirit and his unyielding desire for new explorations in all our work, coupling a strong ethic of investigating everything with warm friendliness.